Pete Carroll "real happy" with work of rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh

Posted Jul 27, 2014

Seahawks 2014 fourth-round draft pick Cassius Marsh has stood out through the first three days of training camp.

All it took was the first padded practice of Seahawks training camp for rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh to receive his "welcome to the NFL" hit.

Second-year, 320-pound offensive tackle Alvin Bailey launched the Seahawks' 254-pound 2014 fourth-round pick Marsh off his feet and into the air during Sunday's 9-on-7 drill in what was the third practice session of camp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

"It's just grown men," Marsh said of his transition from college to the pros. "The difference really is just strength, mental things to the game. These guys are smart. They're out here for a reason. They pick up on the little things you do just like I used to pick up on the little things guys did in college. You just have to play more mental games and continue to work and learn from the older guys and the coaches."

The 6-foot-4 Marsh, who finished his collegiate career at UCLA with 16.0 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss under former Seahawks coach Jim Mora, has demonstrated great quickness and a unique pass-rush savvy through the first three days of camp. The burst and acceleration he's displayed off the edge are an extension of what the coaching staff saw from Marsh in minicamp, when Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll would cool his initial excitement because of UCLA graduation rules that made Marsh a late arrival to camp, providing him a pair of "fresh legs" in the process.

Armed with more time to evaluate, Carroll said he's been pleased with the versatility Marsh has shown. The 22-year-old Southern California native has seen a healthy amount of reps at defensive end and defensive tackle, working in with the No. 1 unit at times in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive line coach Travis Jones' heavy D-line rotation.

"We're real happy with Cassius Marsh and what he's shown in the first three days that he has a variety of things that we think he can help us with," said Carroll. "It's going to take us a while to sort that out and figure out how we're going to go with it."

Marsh looks to be his own toughest critic. Despite the kind words from the coaching staff, he feels as though his days to date on the shores of Lake Washington have been "decent" and hold plenty of room to improve.

"I'm always just very critical of myself," said Marsh. "Nothing about me is perfect - far from it. There's little things in every part of my game that I can improve on."

That ever-improving attitude stems from Marsh's NFL-driven family. His father, Curtis Marsh, Sr., was a wide receiver in the NFL for three seasons, playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-96) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1997) before concluding his football career in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2000-01). Cassius' brother, Curtis Marsh, Jr., is currently a cornerback with the Philadelphia Eagles. Both family members offered a bit of advice as Marsh enters his first season in the NFL.

"Just work hard," said Marsh. "My brother himself has gone through some hard times when it comes to not playing when he first got to the League. He still has yet to have a really solid season, but he stays optimistic and that's something I admire about him. That's something I take from him and that I need to continue to learn from - just keep my head up no matter what happens and continue to work and continue to try and get better.

"This is the best of the best and I am on the best team in the NFL, so I just have to continue to work so one day I can be like Mike B. [Bennett] or Cliff [Avril]."

And while Marsh's "welcome to the NFL" hit came Sunday at the hands of Bailey, his "welcome to the NFL" tattoo came two weeks after the Seahawks selected him in May's draft, when Marsh had the NFL shield branded on his right forearm.

"It means everything," Marsh said of his nearly-finished NFL ink. "I've been planning to get that tattoo ever since I wanted to go into the NFL, which was forever ago. I've been saving a spot for that tattoo for a long time and it meant a lot to me to be able to do that."